Peterborough City Council has submitted planning applications for Great Haddon, in essence a new town of over five thousand homes to the south of Peterborough. A number of significant concerns have been raised about what will become one of the county’s largest new developments.
17:20 Wednesday 17th November 2010
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY BURROWS: A number of significant concerns have been raised about what will become one of the county’s largest new developments. Peterborough City Council has submitted planning applications for Great Haddon, in essence a new town of over five thousand homes to the south of Peterborough. Olive Leaonard Smith from the Norman Cross Action Group is baffled by the plans. (TAPE)
OLIVE SMITH: You’ve got to remember that the proposed Great Haddon development is on a truly massive scale. There’s two applications in. One is for five thousand three hundred houses, plus the schools, plus the shops, and everything else that goes with it, health centre. And the other is for an employment area. Now this development’s going to be built on farmland, not on brownfield as Hampton was. Now when the applications first went in, the Highways put a stop notice on it, because it didn’t conform. Now those stop notices are still in place. So you read what you like into that. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: The development is proposed to be built between the A1 and the A15, the London Road, with Hampton to the north, if you know that part of Greater Peterborough, between Yaxley and Peterborough itself. It’ll have Hampton to the north, and Norman Cross to the south. Nick Harding is from Peterborough City Council. (TAPE)
NICK HARDING: Obviously with a scheme of some five and a half thousand houses you’ve got some employment land. That’s about sixty five hectares. And you’ve got a secondary school being provided, three primary schools, a district centre and a neighbourhood centre as well, plus all of the green open space that goes with it. (LIVE)
AB: Well earlier I spoke to Shailesh Vara. He’s the MP for North West Cambridgeshire. And I asked him who’s side is he on.
SHAILESH VARA: Well I have huge concerns Andy, about the whole of the project, and we have to be realistic in terms of taking on board the scale here. There are thousands of houses proposed. There’s going to be schools. And my big concern is the infrastructure that would be required to match such a development, particularly the impact it would have on surrounding areas, such as Haddon, Yaxley, Farcet, Hamptons as well. And I’m very concerned that a lot of the green space between Peterborough and Yaxley is going to be totally built upon. There are, as I say, concerns over roads. Then there’s also the big issue that building houses is actually the easy bit. But what about the job creation that is so fundamental for the people who are going to be living in those houses?
AB: Is there a bit of nimbyism going on here then? It’s not in my back yard, or rather not in my village?
SV: No, no. I don’t think that’s the case. There are genuine concerns here Andy. For example, people do value green space. People are concerned about the road congestion. It’s not the best at present, but given the development that’s proposed, people really do need some assurance that there will be proper roads. And don’t forget that when a developer builds houses, he doesn’t really get much by way of return on using space for roads, or for open spaces and so on. He makes his money from the houses as such. So we need to make sure that there is a real proper discussion. I’ve been to local meetings in the past, and the local people are very concerned. And I very much hope that the local community will be listened to, that they’ll have a say. This is not just some ..
AB: We need those homes though, don’t we? If the amount of jobs that are going to be created in Peterborough and the outlying villages, if the estimates of that job creation is correct over the next few years, we’re going to need those homes.
SV: Well for my part I would like to see those jobs first, and then that will attract the people and the accommodation will fit into place. What I don’t want to see is thousands of houses built, and then we live in the expectation that those jobs can be created. We’re in difficult times at the moment, and I for one as you know regularly on your radio programme and other programmes locally have had the miserable task of saying what’s going to happen to people who’ve lost their jobs in recent times. And so I really want definite assurances that the jobs are happening, that they will happen. And as I say, developers are always going to be there. If not the present developers, there’ll be others happy to come along, build some houses, and sell them. We need to make sure that we don’t have thousands of houses built with people living in them who have no jobs to go to. And I come back to the point that I very much hope that the local people who have huge concerns, as do I, will be listened to.